Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Two weeks left...

I am going to begin by saying it was an absolute honour working with the women of Pagsung. Pagsung means Good women, this is fitting for the members of the enterprise as they have only displayed kindness towards us. We are only left with 2 weeks of our placement.  Even though we haven’t been able to update everyone with our blog posts, believe it or not, we’ve actually been busy.

In the past nine weeks, we have managed to complete over ten analysis tools, this involved many interviews with the executives of the enterprise.  After the six weeks of analysis, we were able to begin the implementation stage of the project. This involved presenting twelve awareness-raising sessions to four communities, all of which received positive feedback. Our team had to be extremely sensitive to cultural values within the communities especially when speaking about one of our topics Gender and Business. I feel like we managed the issues within the awareness raising sessions well since after the very first session we had in Shishegu I managed to be ‘best pals’ with one of the lovely shea butter processors.  I am hoping she will be willing to host me for my next visit to Tamale.  
snaps with my new 'BEST PAL'

As well as the awareness raising sessions we have also been busy making a new website and social media accounts for Pagsung. When we first arrived we realised through the analysis we carried out, that Pagsung was lacking an online presence. We were na├»ve at the beginning that this would be a simple problem to tackle. Later we found that the enterprise (Pagsung) was not sure on what they were going to call their products, they were stuck between Pags and Kali. There was also some confusion with the logo of the company, causing a delay in us being able to publish the social media sites.  If I have learnt anything so far it would be patience, it was something I wanted to work on anyway so that’s really a plus for me.  

During the in-country training, our ICS manager mentioned that I would have a family here by the time we leave. I feel like I have found two, one of them being the team, the other being my host family. Even with so many personalities, we managed to maintain a strong bond throughout the placement. The team was like having nine other siblings. There is no one memory that is my favourite; they made every day feel special for me.  Moving on, my host family have never failed to make me feel at home and the children have always put a smile on my face. Being the youngest in my family at home, it was interesting to have to act as an older sister to two young girls and a toddler. While in placement I missed Eid for the second time this year, the only reason I was able to cope with my nostalgia for home was because of my host family and counterpart (Latifa). Latifa and I were overjoyed when Aunty Baidaou walked into our room with fabric for us to have a matching outfit for Eid; it was great until we went for the prayer, surrounded with people wearing neutral colours. Let's just say we stood out that day with our bright yellow dresses.

This was a great experience for someone who had never travelled before on their own. I have to say it has been a roller coaster but I loved every part of it. Every moment even the sour ones have taught me something I will keep with me for the rest of my life.

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